2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited

I like this car. Always have. I like the packaging, the seating position, the great forward vision through the broad windshield. I have no beef with the innocuous interior styling. There's nothing offensive here, although some people may find some of the plastics a little hard and the colors a little bland, but overall not much to complain about. What I do like are the everyday touches like the very large cup holders and the big bin at the bottom of the center stack: these are the things that make a car easy to live with. I also appreciated the decent-size space in the doors to fit a beverage bottle or sunglasses or such. The surprisingly large sunroof, standard on this Limited model, brightens up the cabin. The blue-ringed gauges are attractive. The stereo controls are a little small but pretty clear and easy to use. The HVAC system is very clear and easy to use. Neither of these functions can be taken for granted in modern cars, where they're more and more rendered confusing by perplexing technology.

The turbo engine provides plenty of power for this vehicle for freeway merging and passing. All in all, the Forester is not an exciting vehicle, but it is a very practical vehicle and you can certainly understand why it is so popular with its owners.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

The Forester finished third in our driving tests two weeks ago. And that is after my mother totalled her 2004 Forester. She loved that car. The Nissan Rouge came in second with more power, smoother ride, nicer interior, but had poor visibility compared to the Forester. The Honda CRV did not place, nor did the Toyota RAV4. I had hoped we could have driven the Mitsubishi Outlander but could not find one. The Hyundai Santa Fe SE won the comparison with the best warranty, best price, more horsepower from a V6, lots of room, very good visibility, easy to drive, great ride that was smooth, lots of room, and an excellent warranty and price. The interior was also the nicest of the group.
Nobody "needs" a turbo. OK, but some of us really, REALLY like them!! We have an Outback 2.5 XT with a five-speed manual, and the car is practical and loads of fun to drive. My husband and I are driving enthusiasts, and who would have thought that an Outback could put such a smile on our faces?! The smiles are worth the extra fuel costs. Sadly, Subaru in its infinite wisdom has chosen to drop the 2.5XT from its line, so our 2006 is going to have to last us for a long time to come.
It's bland all right. I can't decide if it looks more like a CR-V or a RAV4, but it sure doesn't look like a Subaru! We long-time Subaru owners have always appreciated the brand's quirkiness and originality, and we're going to miss that. I could overlook its boring facade, but no matter how good a vehicle it might be, without a manual transmission, it won't see the inside of my garage!
Nobody needs an expensive gas thirsty turbo (XT)...and the Forester non-turbo (X) is missing the basic feature of a TELESCOPIC steering wheel. Deal breaker. It is an incompetent marketing practice to pair the TELESCOPIC steering wheel exclusively with a more expensive (yet less fuel efficient) engine.

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